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Shakespeare’s Othello – Part IV

The story now moves away from Venice, never to return. The characters arrive one by one at Cyprus by sea, having weathered a heavy storm. Nature itself is confused. They assemble here to prepare for battle with the Turks. In Act One, Iago only talks about his plans, but now, in Act Two, away from home, he puts his plans into action. Iago gets Cassio drunk and into a fight, disrupting the wedding night of Othello and Desdemona. Othello breaks up the fight. Cassio is dishonored. To help put him right again with Othello, Iago suggests that he talk with Desdemona to have her plead his case with her husband. He agrees. Iago uses this meeting to plant doubts about Desdemona’s fidelity. Iago has several roles in this play. He is first and foremost, the villain. A purely evil man: evil for the sake of evil. He appears as a fellow well met, but his words hide his real intent. Iago provides the comic relief in the play. He is funny, witty, clever. Audiences for centuries love this character. They recognize him. He reminds us all that we are human. But behind his jokes is a sinister plan of destruction and disorder.

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